Some morbo, with a healthy dash of desperation. That is the story of Villarreal and Mallorca, intertwined as it has been over the past few seasons.
Start with player movement. Ariel Ibagaza, Borja Valero, and now Jonathan de Guzmán all have made the jump from the Baleares to the southeastern coast. Part of it is the upgrade in quality of football (but not two seasons ago). And part is to be paid on time. Interesting concept.
Then came Europa-gate. Athletic Bilbao is the "real" culprit- how dare they demand payment for Aritz Aduriz? Especially when Mallorca then spins him to Valencia for a tidy profit.
However, Villarreal and Sr. Roig are the sources of Mallorca's ire over the past year-plus. The club delighted in our Europa League semifinal defeat to FC Porto, and I am sure the knives are out ahead of today's match. Perhaps for Mallorca manager Michael Laudrup as well. But Villarreal cannot afford to leave the pitch without 3 points.
Manager Juan Carlos Garrido has convened 18 players:
Goalkeepers: Diego López, César.
Defenders: Mario, Zapata, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Catalá, Marchena.
Midfielders: Bruno, Marcos Senna, Borja Valero, De Guzmán, Cani, Wakaso, Camuñas.
Strikers: Rossi, Nilmar, Marco Ruben.
I have no clue about the starting XI, but I am hoping for a 4-3-3. It's time to strut our attacking flair against a middling opponent at El Madrigal.
Win or bust. I'll be back with comments tonight. Endavant Villarreal!